After years of refreshing PC gamers, Soda Drinker Pro has arrived on consoles. Or console, rather, as only the Xbox One has received a port as of yet. I can’t say for sure but I assume that the PS4 simply lacks the raw processing power required to run Soda Drinker Pro. I’m sure hardcore soda sim fans know what I’m talking about, but for those unfamiliar with the finer points of the game a brief overview is in order: Simply put, Soda Drinker Pro is a video game where you – with no hands – drink a soda in a variety of locations that range from the mundane to the bizarre. When you finish your soda you are taken to the next area. …I hope I didn’t raise your expectations too much because that’s pretty much it.
Movement is possible, yet agonizingly slow. There isn’t much to do besides bring the soda to your mouth and drink. And yes, you have to hold both buttons because this is a very realistic soda simulator. Like any good soda simulator there is no shortage of areas to drink soda in – 102 to be exact, not counting the 15 or so bonus levels. If the levels had more to them this game might have been a lot more tolerable. But too often there’s nothing to do besides enjoy the crude scenery while you spend approximately 22 seconds sucking down your soda to get to the next (equally dull) level as quickly as possible.
Admittedly, there are collectibles in the form of “bonus sodas” floating throughout the levels. Of course, many of these floating sodas are out of reach while the ones you can collect don’t earn you anything other than a disembodied whisper of “bonus soda” and an Achievement if you can stand to collect 1,000 of them. Speaking of achievements, unlocking them is one of the few things there is to do in Soda Drinker Pro.
It’s frustrating, really. I enjoy games that are out of the ordinary but Soda Drinker Pro goes to the extreme end of the spectrum. The movement speed is so absurdly slow that even the smallest levels feel like they take ages to cross. In Perfect Dark moving diagonally was the quickest way to travel, in Soda Drinker Pro moving sideways is the trick. You can’t see where you’re going but you’ll get there slightly faster! One thing I still don’t understand is why every table and chair tower overhead like you’re playing as a soda drinking infant? Is that why you can’t jump?
[I should mention there is an options menu that – as far as I know – may allow you to change movement speed and the like. However, since the options are things like “soda viscosity” I’m rather at a loss.]
Ultimately my biggest issue is the levels themselves. A few of them allow you to slide around as if on skates and feature slides, jumps, etc. A couple of others have the player seated in a (sometimes moving) vehicle of some kind. Others are in interesting locales, such as the top of a skyscraper, in the infinite blackness of space, or on top of a human butt. Those are what I’ve been considering “the good levels”. Of the other 90%, roughly half are moderately interesting, by which I mean you can spend a minute exploring the virtual world while enjoying your virtual soda. The remaining levels are the ones I referred to earlier: the dull levels that contain nothing but another soda to be drunk.
I’d rather have 10 larger levels with things to see and do than have 100+ small levels with nothing in them. Soda Drinker Pro was never going to be a game for most people but with so little in the way of gameplay it’s not much of a game at all. As engrossing as this soda simulator is, I would have liked something to do while I drink soda. Puzzles that unlock hidden doors, some light platforming, anything. A gamer cannot survive on cool, fizzy refreshment alone.
Now by this point you might be wondering why on Earth anyone would pay $10 for this game. I asked myself the same question but, in fairness, I haven’t told the whole story, dear reader. There is a bit more to Soda Drinker Pro than drinking soda. In the second level there’s a hidden doorway that takes the player to a main menu for another game, Vivian Clark. Despite the fact that it’s secreted away, Vivian Clark is more of an actual game than Soda Drinker Pro itself.
Thankfully, Vivian Clark shelves the soft drink consumption in favor of dozens of strange, loosely connected mini games. I was reminded a bit of the old WarioWare Game Boy game, although while that game occupied hours of my young life, I found myself growing tired of Vivian Clark rather quickly. The goal is to complete hidden objectives within those mini games in order to unlock pictures. Trial and error is the name of the game here, as there’s nothing even resembling a tutorial. It’s not much to rave about, but there’s more replay value here than in the regular game. The abstract quirkiness and sheer variety will probably hold your attention more than the titular soda quaffing.
Soda Drinker Pro is ultimately a particular type of game for a particular type of gamer, by which I mean that if you expect anything remotely traditional you’ll be disappointed. That being said, if you’re a collector of strange games or if you’re just looking for a silly title far outside the realm of the usual Xbox fare you might find some redeeming qualities. I fall into the former category somewhat and I have to say that I’m glad I live in a world where this game exists, although I couldn’t exactly tell you why. Maybe it was the honesty in advertising. Snowrunner Productions has plainly sold Soda Drinker Pro as a game about soda drinking. If that appeals to you, great. If you buy it and expect anything more you haven’t got much cause to complain. Thirsty Xbox soda simulator fans are in for an ice-cold treat, but everyone else should think twice before taking a sip.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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